First, I have to start with something I forgot about the back. After I had done all the work I talked about in the last entry, I added some reinforcement to the panel. I added two horizontal braces to the back. They have a rabbet on each end so the brace makes contact with the panel. The brace is attached by one screw on each end. In addition, there is a small dab of glue in the center of the panel. Gluing across the whole panel could have caused issues with the natural expansion and contraction of the panel.
The Front Panels
Honestly, the front panels were just like the backs, except smaller. I did them next because I didn’t have to readjust the jigs like the bed rail router jig or the mortising jig on my drill press. The curve at the bottom of the front panel uses the same template as the curve at the top of the back.
The rails and stiles were cut. I made the mortises and tenons for the joinery and the bed hardware. I cut the panels to rough size and used the assembled frame to get a rough shape. Using a compass I extended the curved portion of the shape approximately 1/4″. I then assembled them using the draw bore technique.
Any time you have wood captured by other wood in a cross grain method, you have to worry about expansion and contraction. With frame and panel construction, this can lead to the panel shifting, rattling, gaps opening, or possibly even the panel falling out.
It turns out a simple solution is available. You can put compressible spacers in the panel grove. They will compress when the panel expands and prevent damage to the frame. When the panel contracts they will hold the panel stable and centered. They look like little black rubber balls and I got mine from Rockler.
Overlay is simply a second piece of wood (in this case) attached to the face of a background piece. At the request of the Barony, the original design was modified so that there would be a solid ash panel with a contrasting walnut overlay.
For the backs and sides, I had to use the same process to glue up panels of walnut to achieve the width I needed. This did allow the overlay to be book-matched for the back panel. The side panels were actually glued up from three pieces. The overlay on the front was small enough to be cut from a single piece.
After they are dry and sanded flush, the panels could be cut to size and shape. For the backs, this only meant width and the mountain motif in the top. The sides also included a curve at the bottom. For the curve, I could use the same curve template from the top of the back.
The top is the same on all overlays. First, I had to mark and cut the top of the panel to match the intersection with the frame. For the back this would be the same curve at the top. The side panel had both the standard curve at the bottom and a decreasing height curve on the top. The overlays for the front would have a straight top and a curved bottom.
I would mark the center of the panel. Then I would draw a line 30 degree off the center line, on each side, until it reached the edge of the panel. Next I would mark the halfway point between the center and the edge and again draw lines 30 degrees off those lines until they intersected the edge or another line. These lines were then cut with a jig saw.
Going back to the two lines off center, they needed to be extended. This is to give the appearance that the center mountain is in front of the side mountains. These lines were hand carved with a 6-12 sweep gouge and mallet.
After that, the hammer and stars needed to be cut. For the large back panels, I used a jig saw. For the smaller side panels, I used a scroll saw.
For the front panel I took a different tact. Before I resawed that piece, I cut the shape and decorations. Then I used the bandsaw to cut off slices and sanded them on the drum sander. This meant I only had to do the complex cuts once.
All of the overlays were glued into place. Since the grain on the side and back ran the same direction on the panel and overlay, there is no concern about expansion/contraction. The size of the pieces involved on the front panel rendered that a non issue as well.